Weekly Book List: Week 27 (Historical Fiction before 1900)

The Ruins of Lace / Iris Anthony (17th Century)

The demand for illegal Flemish lace in seventeenth century France impacts everyone from a blind lacemaker who would likely become a prostitute should her disability come to light to a count whose confidence can be bought with the smuggled good. (FIC ANTHONY)


A Taste for Nightshade / Matine Bailey (1787)

After a shipwreck frees a budding criminal bound for the Australian penal colony, she takes a job as a cook at Delafosse Hall where she plots her revenge in this historical novel that also features authentic 19th century recipes. (FIC BAILEY)


Longbourn / Jo Baker (Early 19th Century)

Elizabeth and Darcy take a backseat in this engrossing Austen homage, which focuses on the lives of the servants of Longbourn  rather than the Bennet family. (FIC BAKER)


The Courtesan / Alexandra Curry (1881)

A fictionalized account of the life of orphan Sai Jinhua who is sold to a brothel keeper in China after her father’s death. She then becomes a concubine to a scholar and he takes her on a diplomatic mission to Vienna. She eventually returns to China a changed woman. (FIC CURRY)


The Scandal of the Season / Sophie Gee (1711)

A tale based on the early eighteenth-century scandal that inspired Alexander Pope’s “The Rape of the Lock” finds an impoverished Alexander Pope gaining entry into society and following a forbidden affair between the rakish Lord Petre and the coquettish Arabella. (FIC GEE)


Dictator / Robert Harris (58 BC)

With his life in ruins, an exiled Cicero plots a comeback to become Rome’s supreme senator. (FIC HARRIS)



The Devil’s Company / David Liss (1722)

Blackmailed into stealing trade secrets from the ruthless British East India Company of eighteenth-century London, Benjamin Weaver discovers that he has been drawn into a daring conspiracy for which he must infiltrate the company to save his loved ones. (FIC LISS)


The Accidental Empress / Allison Pataki (1853)

The New York Times best-selling author of The Traitor’s Wife fictionalizes the little-known and tumultuous love story of “Sisi,” the 19th-century Austro-Hungarian empress and captivating wife of Emperor Franz Joseph. (FIC PATAKI)


Mistress of My Fate / Hallie Rubenhold (19th Century)

In the first novel of a trilogy set in 19th century London, Henrietta Lightfoot, an orphan raised with her cousins, learns to fend for herself on the streets of the city as a courtesan, a gambler and a feisty intellectual. (FIC RUBENHOLD)


The Marriage Game / Allison Weir (1558)

A sequel to The Lady Elizabeth recounts the dramatic story of the Virgin Queen and her scandalous relationship with Lord Robert Dudley, a reign marked by rumors about their illegitimate child and the suspicious death of his wife. (FIC WEIR)

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